EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants offensive lineman Eric Herman was suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. But due to the revised drug policy announced Wednesday, Herman's suspension has been voided and he is eligible to return to the team effective immediately. Herman got this news via a phone call from Giants assistant GM Kevin Abrams while he was driving to work out Wednesday.
"I made a U-turn and got here as fast as I could," Herman said.
Thing is, though, the Giants don't have a roster spot for Herman right now and would have to release someone from their 53-man roster in order to put him on it. So he wasn't allowed to practice. (The team said he watched practice in pads.) The Giants have applied to the commissioner's office for a roster exemption which likely would give them a week or two to make the necessary moves to get Herman back on their roster if they decide they want to.
Players whose positives tests occurred during the current league year are subject to the rules of the new policy. One of the rule changes is that positive tests for certain stimulants are treated under the substances of abuse policy if the violation occurs in the offseason (though still as performance-enhancers if the violation occurs in-season). So the guess here is Herman's positive test was for a stimulant and it happened in the offseason. He's been following the developments with regard to the new drug policy since late last week, but as of Wednesday afternoon he hadn't even been told the specifics of why he was reinstated.
"I've got to talk to the players' association and figure out what I fell under, so I can tell you guys," Herman said.
The Giants could release any number of extraneous offensive lineman if they wanted to clear a spot for Herman, a 2013 seventh-round pick who's shown promise as a project guard/center. James Brewer, Charles Brown and Adam Snyder are all candidates to go if they want to keep Herman. If they want to add him to their practice squad, they'll have to waive him first and hope no one else picks him up, then release someone from their practice squad. But if the commissioner's office will give them an extra week or so to decide how exactly to handle it, they'll sure take the time.